At last: the Hollow Bastion, perhaps the origin of the Heartless? We have blown up many things to get to this point. Now it’s time to blow up our good bro Riku. Probably.
I’ve got to admit, given that I am already conflating ‘Hollow’ and ‘Heartless’ in my head pretty often, this is not going to help. Anyway, sweet set, sweet music.
Also this guy is here. Does that mean we’re not going to see a Beauty and the Beast level? I guess that makes sense.
The Beast is here to take Belle back. (I hope Belle wants to go back.) He has a go at Riku, but Riku does an acrobatic pirouette off the
handle platform then just… straight up fucking murders the Beast with his sword.
Sora intervenes and Riku takes ownership of my keyblade! The bounder! The cad! My OP superweapon!
Riku throws me a wooden sword to be extra patronising… and Donald Duck and Goofy immediately abandon me to chase after the keyblade! Donald doesn’t even hesitate. Wow. Jerks.
So now we have a puzzle dungeon with Beast. It’s pretty fun.
We enter the castle and get a cutscene with a hall of sleeping Princesses. Maleficent does some wonderfully hammy acting to begin the Evil Ritual.
The Beast leaves to chase a Heartless version of Belle (I think) and…
Hey it’s this guy! He tells me the darkness will destroy me. Like, honestly dressed like that, and you tell me the darkness will destroy me…
Sora says ‘the darkness may destroy my body, but it can’t touch my heart’ and like… you’re not going to be able to do much if you’re just a heart are you, Sora?
Anyway at that point Riku tries to murder me. I really don’t see how this is helping save Kairi, but I guess he’s a Sith Lord now so whatever, he’s fallen to the Dark Side and won’t become good again until we beat him up. Luckily, Goofy changes his mind about the whole ‘betrayal’ thing. Donald decides to do the same (he totally wouldn’t have done if Goofy hadn’t ¬¬)
Sora says he has a better weapon than the Keyblade: his heart! More importantly, I can still cast spells just as well without a keyblade. But I think I’m about to get a sweet heart sword…
…nah, the Keyblade came back. I guess it liked Sora’s little speech about friendship.
The Riku fight is a bit of a slugfest, and not too difficult. Probably going to be another phase though…
Riku’s new outfit is dispelled, indicating… uh… he’s not into goth anymore? Anyway I finally get the white Trinity. There’s a lot of places I’ll want to go back and use that.
Party reformed (+ Beast, who came back after the fight), it’s time to explore. There’s a door with four slots, which presumably takes some macguffin to open. (The hint text is like a riddle, but I don’t think there’s anything in my inventory that fits.)
Instead, I find a library. Reshelving a book opens a secret passage, which must be really frustrating for the librarian. In fact seven or eight books need to be correctly reshelved before the final secret door opens, in the process completely rearranging the library. But that last door just leads to a lift that goes to a place with nothing I can interact with, and a chest that’s just out of reach of my jump. Maybe it will be important later.
Back in the room where I fought Riku, there are various small puzzles to solve to get four pieces of the Heartless emblem.
Not sure how Riku got through the door without doing that. Sorcery, probably.
Speaking of Riku, he’s getting a visit from a Robe Guy:
Apparently the Keyblade doesn’t care about like, politics or good intentions or anything, and Robe Guy encourages Riku to get a stronger heart.
‘Plunge deeper into the darkness’ says the mysterious Robe Guy. Riku, don’t listen to this cr- Riku, what are you doing? Riku, you get out of this green smoke this instant young man!
There follows a maze of lifts that kind of reminds me of the teleporters in the original Half-Life.
Oh, I figured out how to lower the too-high-to-reach chests! You have to cast the gravity crushing spell on them.
That guy is back with a extra-evil voice filter! Ready to complete the evil plan which seems to be… huh. How’s that going to be useful to Maleficent and Riku again?
Apparently it’s just an acceptable side effect.
So yeah, Maleficent wants to rule all the worlds. Figures. To any particular end, or does she just like ruling things? I mean it will probably suck for everyone regardless, but like, what will she even do if she takes over?
I mean I’m just going to murder her so, eh, no big deal.
Riku gets a new keyblade anyway. It’s red and black, presumably to signify that he’s an anarcho-communist.
Maleficent comes to deal with us.
The voice actress clearly had an enormous amount of fun recording these lines.
So - that’s pretty big talk. Let’s see if she deserves her Chief Villain status.
…OK, that was a fun fight. Good mix of boss and adds, for once the villain voiceovers weren’t annoying (because they were just so over the top - METEORS OF HEAVEN, UNLEASH THY FURY!), felt like you were accomplishing stuff and there were even a couple of different ways to approach the fight. It wasn’t super difficult, but it was cool.
So now it’s time for that guy. Riku explains what’s so special about his Keyblade:
Then he demonstrates on Maleficent to establish his status as new Chief Villain:
Rather than killing her, opening her heart to the ‘true darkness’ lets her turn into a giant dragon.
But this post is getting quite long, so we’ll deal with the dragon in the next one!